Jesus, Thy boundless love to me
No thought can reach, no tongue declare
Unite my thankful heart to Thee
And reign without a rival there
Thine wholly, Thine alone I am
Be Thou alone my constant flame
~Paul Gerhardt, LSB 683~

Back in 2020, I wrote out my funeral choices for hymns and Bible readings. I put the paper on my husband’s dresser and texted it to two of my sisters. I’d at least thought about the songs before, but had never taken the time to write them down. When my kids were younger, I wanted to make sure they played Jesus Loves Me. I wanted a comforting and familiar song that they’d know. Another song was Amazing Grace.

But the number one song I wanted was one I first heard at a chapel service in Seward. It was around the time of 9-11, and we sang it out of the paperback Lutheran Hymnal Supplement. I fell as one with the words, as they were passionate and extracting, yet allowed the fire to stay inside me. At church again I chose it, this hymn as my life-prayer, calling from the heavens every energy and power back to the place from where I came.

I ended up throwing the paper away. I didn’t like how it was sideways sitting there, collecting dust. The superstitious part of me thought I might be also jinxing myself, not that I believe in superstitions anymore. I’d written it down when I was spent from the pains and trials of sinning. Everybody knows you don’t pray for patience, and I dare not do it either, indeed, I didn’t. But for mercy, I will pray, and did pray, and received it.

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